“Lio, get your cousin on this. I’ll pay.”
“Dylan will do it for a marker, Chance. He’s already on it.” Chance gave Emilio a head tilt, and Emilio replied with a chin lift and left. Leslie bent over my bed with tears in her eyes.
“My poor girl,” she muttered, and I stared at her, not knowing what to say. I was reeling from the fact Tommy and Sam were prepared to rape and kill me. Horrified to realise that strangers would pay to watch it happen.
“Oh my god, they filmed me naked, people have seen my minnie and boobs,” I gasped and stared at Chance in horror. “You saw my naked body too, how can you sit there knowing what you saw?” Chance recoiled, and I realised he’d taken my words wrong. He got to his feet, guilt weighing heavily on him.
“So sorry Clio,” he murmured and turned his back.
“Don’t leave me!” I screeched, and Chance froze mid-step. I began struggling to get out of bed to stop him, I couldn’t face this alone, I needed him.
“Clio, he thinks you’re accusing him,” Leslie said as I nearly broke my neck falling out of bed. She gave a yelp as Chance spun and caught me before I hit the floor, I clung to Chance, wrapping my arms and legs around him.
“Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!” I begged him and Chance lay back on the bed, and I burrowed into him. Strong arms wrapped around me, and his chin rested on my head. My hands scrabbled frantically at him, trying to get as close as I could, and a large hand covered mine.
“Peace Clio, I ain’t going nowhere you don’t want me too,” Chance said, but his soothing voice didn’t calm me, and I was scrambling on top of his body. Once there, I wrapped my legs around his and forced my arms under his body. Leslie gave a broken sob as she covered her mouth at how pathetic I was.
“Don’t you leave me,” I hissed at Chance, and he wrapped his arms around me again, cocooning me tightly to his body.
“I won’t, I swear it,” Chance promised. My body was shuddering with emotion, mainly fear and terror and complete horror at what I’d been subjected to.
“I didn’t blame you, I meant it was horrible for you to see me naked like that, to know someone had put hands on me,” I babbled. Chance growled, and I hushed, worried I’d said something else wrong.
“Clio, I’ll see you naked again and when I do, it will replace that memory with a fuckin’ fantastic one. Don’t fret sweet girl, you ain’t tarnished in my eyes, nothing they did could tarnish your beauty and innocence. You just gotta let me look after ya now, let Hellfire take care of you.” I nodded, I didn’t know what I was agreeing to, but I knew Chance had come for me, Leslie had come for me, it meant something. I’d been alone so long, now people had come for me, a situation I’d never experienced before in my life. No one had ever come for me until now, Chance couldn’t leave me, I trusted him even though I didn’t know him.
“I’m going to go get food and coffee, Clio’s not eaten, and hospital food is the pits. Clio will you be okay with Chance?” Leslie asked, stroking my hair again.
“He can’t leave me,” I muttered, and Chance’s arms squeezed in reply.
“Chance won’t ever leave you, sweet girl, I don’t think you understand that, but you will,” Leslie replied. I didn’t know what she meant, but I nodded anyway. As long as Chance stayed, I was happy.
Before Leslie came back, I fell to sleep, Chance was singing something gently to me, and one hand stroked my back and drew lazy circles. My eyes closed as I listened to his baritone voice, and gradually, I relaxed enough to let him soothe me to sleep.
Icame to abruptly and panicked instantly when I realised Chance wasn’t in bed with me. My eyes widened, and tears welled before a shadow stepped into my line of sight, and my body relaxed. Chance shot me a look but said nothing, as I realised he was on the phone.
“Yeah Drake, I’m callin’ in a marker, need Artemis, her team of hackers and need them yesterday,” Chance growled down the phone. I glanced at the clock and saw I’d only been asleep half an hour. Chance leaving the bed must have woken me up. I didn’t mean to listen, but I could hear the other guy on the phone, Chance didn’t seem too worried, so I didn’t hide the fact I was listening.
“No marker, what ya need Killer for?” a deep voice replied. Killer?
“My girl got snatched, and two fuckers stripped her naked and filmed her. A third was involved, need the asshole finding. The fuckers filmed Clio live on the black market, was gonna rape and kill her for money. Want Artemis on this,” Chance replied and even I felt the stunned silence from the other person. “Drake!” Chance growled.
“Your girl?” came the reply and boy did this Drake sound surprised.
“Claimed Clio, girl’s mine, now you gonna get me Artemis or do I start tearing shit up?”
“Claimed Clio?” Drake replied, “Phoe, you know Chance has a girl?” Drake shouted. Chance frowned and pinched his nose between two fingers.
“Ah fuck,” Chance muttered as a high-pitched scream echoed down his phone.
“Chance freaking Michaelson are you telling us you claimed a girl, and we haven’t met her yet?” a woman shrieked.
“Phoe this is not the time, I need Drake to get Artemis or I’m gonna tear South Dakota apart, and I’ll be swinging by the end. Someone laid hands on my girl, and I want fuckin’ blood. Assholes filmed my girl, and I’m tellin’ ya’s my girl ain’t gonna have nightmares, Clio will sleep sweet,” Chance rumbled down the phone keeping eye contact with me. It was almost as if he expected a reaction, but I didn’t understand why. I lifted a hand to Chance, and he came to the bed and sat, I shifted straight into his lap and curled up.
“Artemis, Ace, Phoe and I will be on the road in an hour. Where you at?” Drake demanded down the phone.
“Hospital. My girl’s been admitted, no need to bring everyone brother, just Artemis,” Chance tried to wriggle out of it. I stifled a grin at the thought of Chance on the run from this Phoe.